From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much.
Mains level : India and its neighborhood-relations.
India’s recent actions at home like the decision to amend Article 370, or the CAA 2019, may take a toll on its international relations.
Effects on the relation with the U.S. and Europe:
- In the U.S. bipartisan support for India had been the norm for at least two decades.
- The dwindling of Democrat support was evident early on during the “Howdy Modi” event in September 2019.
- In that event, only three out of the two dozen lawmakers at the event were from the Democratic Party.
- In the weeks that followed the event, the State Department and several bipartisan committees have issued statements of concern over continued detentions in Kashmir and the CAA.
- They also held hearings in the U.S. Congress, and even referred to Kashmir in the annual Foreign Appropriations Act for 2020.
- The same issue found a voice in the U.K. parliament.
- In the European Parliament, there was also discussion on Kashmir.
- Kashmir became a campaign talking point between Labour and Conservative candidates in the U.K. elections.
Deterioration in relations with Bangladesh and the neighbourhood
- In the neighbourhood, Pakistan is predictably angry.
- While Afghanistan is more muted.
- The real damage has been done to ties with Bangladesh.
- In the last decade, Dhaka and New Delhi had worked hard on building connectivity, opening energy routes, trade and developing travel links.
- Bangladesh is upset for being clubbed together with Afghanistan and Pakistan on the issue of treatment of minorities.
- At the same time, Bangladesh’s repeated requests for help on the Rohingya refugee issue were unheeded.
- The OIC plans for a special meet on Kashmir and the CAA in April 2020.
- If Bangladesh which defends India at the OIC feels that India’s actions are discriminatory, Arab countries could also become more vocal.
- The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has already recommended sanctions be considered against Home Minister.
- In the U.S. Congress lawmakers can effectively block defence sales to India, or pursue sanctions on the S-400 missile system purchase from Russia.
- On the international stage, the United Nations and its affiliated bodies could provide a platform for India to be targeted.
- At FATF, India hopes to blacklist Pakistan for terror financing.
- Break in ties with Turkey and Malaysia for their comment at UN on Kashmir could also lead them to veto India’s position at the FATF.
- Unrest in the country could lead to a lower number of foreign visitors and visit cancellation/postponement by leaders.
- All this also takes a toll on its diplomatic resources that have been diverted for much of the year in firefighting negative international opinion.
- The government must consider the impact of its domestic actions on India’s diplomatic capital.
- This capital is a complex combination of the goodwill the country has banked on over decades as a democratic, secular, stable power, bilateral transactions it can conduct in the present, and the potential it holds for future ties, particularly in terms of its economic and geopolitical strengths.